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Bouvy, M., Got, P., Domaizon, I., Pagano, M., Leboulanger, C., Bouvier, C., et al. (2016). Plankton communities in the five Iles Eparses (Western Indian Ocean) considered to be pristine ecosystems. Acta Oecologica, , 9–20.
Résumé: Coral reef environments are generally recognized as being the most threatened of marine ecosystems. However, it is extremely difficult to distinguish the effects of climate change from other forcing factors, mainly because it is difficult to study ecosystems that are isolated from human pressure. The five Iles Eparses (Scattered Islands) are located in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) and can be considered to be “pristine” ecosystems not subject to anthropogenic pressure. This study characterized their plankton assemblages for the first time, by determining the abundances of microbial (virus, bacteria, heterotrophic protists and phytoplankton) and metazooplankton communities in various lagoon and ocean sites around each island. The Europa lagoon has extensive, productive mangrove forests, which have the highest nutrient concentrations (nitrogen forms, dissolved organic carbon) and whose microbial communities present a peculiar structure and functioning. By means of bioassay experiments, we observed that bacterial production and growth rates are higher in Europa than those reported for the other islands. Tromelin, which lies outside the Mozambique Channel, had the lowest biological productivity, nutrient concentrations, and bacterial growth rates. Multivariate analysis indicated that distinct microbial assemblages occur in association to varying nutrient concentrations. Molecular fingerprinting showed clear discrimination of the structure of the archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes community between the sites. Our results suggest that the geographical distance can influence the diversity of dominant microbial taxa in the WIO.